On Mojo

I recently finished reading the Mojo: how to get it, how to keep it, how to get it back if you loose it, by Marshall Goldsmith.

As the author defines it : “Mojo is that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.” He continues: “That’s the payoff of having Mojo. More meaning. More happiness.”

The book then expands on what are the foundational elements of Mojo: “Four vital ingredients need to be combined in order for you to have great Mojo. The first is your identity…The second element is achievement…The third element is reputation…The fourth element to building Mojo is acceptance…By understanding the impact and interaction of identity, achievement, reputation, and acceptance, we can begin alter our own Mojo – both at work and home.” After spending time explaining and illustrating each of these areas, Marshall then presents a complete toolkit of actions one can take to build/improve one’s Mojo. I have included below excerpts that further summarize these concepts.

What I particularly enjoyed about this book is the thoroughness in which the topic is covered: from summarizing the concepts, to explaining them and giving practical examples illustrating them, to finally presenting a toolkit on how to apply them. A recommended read that complements well Marshall’s other work: What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There.

Below are some excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1) “Measuring your Mojo:

-Professional Mojo: What I being to this activity – 1) Motivation, 2) Knowledge, 3) Ability, 4) Confidence, 5) Authenticity

-Personal Mojo: What this activity brings to me – 6) Happiness, 7) Reward, 8) Meaning, 9) Learning, 10) Gratitude”

2) “Mojo Paradox: Our default response in life is not to experience happiness. Our default response in life is not to experience meaning. Our default response in life is to experience inertia.”

3) “To understand how you are relating to any activity, you need to understand your identity – who you are. To change your Mojo, you may need to either create a new identity for yourself or rediscover an identity that you have lost.”

4) “If we want to increase our Mojo, we can either change the degree of our achievement – how well we are doing – or change the definition of our achievement – what we are trying to do well.”

5) “…Worrying about the past and being anxious about the future can easily destroy our Mojo. It upsets us emotionally. It clouds our judgement. It dills us with regret. And it can lead to self-punishment. This sort of thinking afflicts the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the achievers and the struggling.”

6) “Mojo Killers: 1) Over-Committing, 2) Waiting for the facts to change, 3) Looking for logic in all the wrong places, 4) Bashing the boss, 5) Refusing to change because of “Sunk Costs”, 6) Confusing the mode you’re in”

7) “In this new world, Mojo is both harder to attain and more important to keep. When your competition is already responding to a tough new environment bu working harder and longer, you need unique tools to separate yourself from the throng.”

8) “The following is a list of specific actions that can help you attack the challenge of changing You or It…1) Establish criteria that matter to you 2) Find out where you’re living 3) Be the optimist in the room 4) Take away one thing 5) Rebuild one brick at a time 6) Live your mission in the small moments too 7) Swim in the Blue Water 8) When to stay, when to go 9) Hello, good-bye 10) Adopt a metrics system 11) Reduce this number 12) Influence up as well as down 13) Name it, frame it, claim it 14) Give your friends a lifetime pass.”

9) “…All of us, consciously or not, run everything through two filters: short-term satisfaction (or happiness) and long-term benefit (or meaning). Both have value.”

10) “When you have mission, you give yourself a purpose – and that adds clarity to all the actions and decisions that follow. There’s an underestimated value to articulating your mission: It  focuses you, points you in a new direction, alters your behavior, and as a result, changes other people’s perception of you.”


Omar Halabieh




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